Go take five minutes to uplift your day by watching this beautiful video about the lives of the cloistered nuns of Our Lady of the Rosary in New Jersey. (via Creative Minority Report)
One of the older sisters said something that jumped out at me:
The only thing that would make a person stay in the cloistered life, as beautiful as it is, is a supernatural call and vocation. You cannot stay in this life for any natural reason or else it is not going to work. You’ll be fighting against a human element that is going to conflict every step of the way.
This is so interesting to me. When I was an atheist, one of the things that confounded me was the concept of celibate religious life, especially those who lived cloistered lives or took vows of poverty. To see people giving up so much and being so peaceful about it…it was almost like they saw something I didn’t…it was almost like they were in touch with something I wasn’t. It was one of the few things that piqued my curiosity about Christianity back then.
I loved this quote from one of the young novices:
As wonderful as my other plans might have been, they were my plans. We think we know what will make us happy. But God knows us way better than we know ourselves.
I could really relate to this; I never cease to be amazed at the truth of this statement. (I wrote about it in relation to my own journey with motherhood once here.)
For those of you who are as fascinated by the simple beauty of cloistered religious life as I am, here’s a great FAQ from the Poor Clares (who are not only cloistered but take vows of poverty). Don’t miss the sisters’ stories!
Speaking of which, do you ever wish you had a habit?
Maybe “habit” is the wrong word, but sometimes I think it would be neat if there were some sort of tradition where laypeople who took vows to conform themselves to Christ could wear simple habits that were subtle enough that they didn’t stand out too much, but that still reflected the inner transformation. I like the idea of having only a few simple items in your closet, of removing yourself from temptation to seek status or indulge in vanity through dress, of not getting to choose what you wear, and of recognizing other laypeople who had taken the same vows when out in the world.
This is a very half-baked thought and undoubtedly an impractical, wrongheaded idea…I was mainly just wondering if anyone else ever thinks about that.
A quick Saint Diet update: I cannot believe how much better I feel.
You mean it’s possible not to spend your afternoons feeling like you’d blow up the world if only you weren’t about to slip into a coma? Both my hematologist and my obstetrician are also amazed at the positive ways that cutting out processed food has impacted my whole system. More on that later.
My dad got me the BEST Christmas present ever this past year, one that I am very much enjoying as I sit in my sparkling living room: three sessions of professional housecleaning. I can’t think of a better gift for a busy mom!
Speaking of which (the “which” being “why someone thinking of gifts for me might immediately have housecleaning come to mind”), people posting pictures of their children’s rooms are killing me. Posts like this one at Dooce and this one at Small Treasures keep shattering the cocoon of denial I prefer to live in in which I tell myself that nobody paints their kids’ walls or has a place for all the toys or owns fancy things like bookshelves with intact shelving and drapes. (Warning: I didn’t immediately see any but I’m sure there’s some profanity in that Dooce post somewhere. Some readers may want to just skip to the pictures.)
Although I have to say that Kristen of Small Treasures is one of those rare bloggers whose posts make me feel like a lazy, ungrateful slob…in a good way. I’m always so inspired to try a little harder to bring beauty to my house and count my blessings after reading her writing. Her blog was on hiatus for many months but is finally back, and it’s a pure delight. If you’re not already familiar with it, go check it out!
Do you ever find yourself tempted to send spammers critiques of their methods?
Sometimes I imagine replying with tips like, “You know, if you just used proper grammar in the subject and used a TinyUrl link instead of the obvious link to xxxhackerz.ru, you would get a lot more click-throughs.” I think it’s because of some combination of my web dev background and my control freak tendencies that I always have this initial gut instinct to offer to just take over their illegal fake Rolex scam operations and do it the right way.
Last Friday my husband and I took the kids (and one of the girls) to see the amazing African Children’s Choir perform. Other than all three of my children attempting to run up on stage at various intervals throughout the performance, it was a great time. And what a great organization: they take children from difficult circumstances in Africa (many of them orphans), teach them to sing and play instruments, and take them to tour the world to raise money for their educations, as well as for other children in troubled areas of Africa. Evidently it really helps these kids have a chance to build better lives for themselves.
They’re currently touring in the South. Check out their list of tour dates if you’re looking for some great, free family entertainment (a donation is requested but optional).
I look forward to reading your posts!